Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

April 22, 2009



Obama has invited
the leaders of Israel, Eygpt and Palestine to the White House for separate talks. Missing from the list is the leadership of Hamas, which in the last fair and full election in Palestine won 74 seats as opposed to Fatah's 43. A 2007 Pew poll found 62% of Palestinians approved of Hamas and a 2008 Haaretz poll fund 64% of Israelis in favor of direct talks with Hamas about a cease fire and the release of captives. But then neither these Palestinians nor Israelis depend on AIPAC for their election.


Portland Press Herald, ME -
A state program that encourages best environmental and energy practices in the lodging industry is saving more than $1 million a year in electricity costs for participating innkeepers, new estimates show. The businesses also are cutting annual water use by a total of 17.5 million gallons, composting 1.1 million pounds of food waste and recycling 1.4 million pounds of solid waste. Two-thirds of the properties also have switched to greener cleaning products, avoiding nearly 11,000 pounds a year of toxic chemicals. . . To make the grade, applicants have switched out wasteful incandescent light bulbs; installed water-saving toilets and shower heads; composted food waste; and banned chemicals from lawns and landscapes. Some have installed solar panels to heat water and generate electricity. In exchange, innkeepers can use the state's Environmental Leader logo on advertising and Web sites, where it's increasingly being noticed by guests who favor green lodging and meeting venues.


Tree Hugger
- Shares are now available in Milwaukee's first rooftop CSA. The extensive variety of organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs are being grown atop The Community Building and Restoration Building just south of the city's Capitol for $800 per share. The CSA season will run longer than most because of the community greenhouse also erected to continue the harvest season for tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, and cauliflower into the winter season. . . A sample CSA box would include two small heads of some combination of buttercrunch, royal red, or simpson lettuce; one bag of spinach, and one bag of spring salad mix (composed of swiss chard, kale, arugula, and a variety of baby lettuces). But as with any CSA, this changes weekly. . .


Independent, UK
- Religious broadcasting has taken an unexpected turn at the BBC, leaving secularists claiming a breakthrough. An important new committee that the corporation will consult on religious broadcasting is to include a humanist. The move, which some see as a potential threat to the future of slots such as Thought for the Day, will see groups representing secular beliefs offering advice and suggestions to the broadcaster. The move is a significant shift for the corporation, and follows a series of recent victories for secularists in public life, including a legal ruling in favor of the so-called atheist bus, the addition of humanism to a religious studies syllabus, and the launch of the first major national student secular society.


David Simon, creator of "The Wire" on Bill Moyers show:
Listen, if you could be Draconian and reduce drug use by locking people up, you might have an argument. But we are the jailingest country on the planet right now. Two million people in prison. When I started as a police reporter, 33, 34 percent of the federal inmate population was violent offenders. Now it's like, seven to eight percent. So, we're locking up less violent people. More of them. The drugs are purer. They've not-- they haven't closed down a single drug corner that I know of in Baltimore for any length of time. It's not working. And by the way this is not a Republican/Democrat thing. Because a lot of the most Draconian stuff came out of the Clinton Administration. This guy trying to maneuver to the center, in order not to be perceived as Leftist by a Republican Congress.


Press Watch
- Prescriptions for antidepressants and drugs for obesity and attention deficit disorder in Britain has been rising by up to nine fold in 10 years. The number of prescriptions for antidepressants rose by 78 per cent in 10 years to nearly 36 million in 2008, The Daily Telegraph has learnt. This was coupled with an 8.6-fold rise in prescriptions for obesity medication and a 3.6-fold increase in drugs such as Ritalin for attention deficit disorder. The figures came from the NHS Information Centre, which collects data on all prescriptions dispensed in primary care in England, and do not include medicines given in hospitals or private prescriptions.


George Kenney does a podcast interview with your editor which he describes as "a bit of a ramble, for which I take full responsibility." He shouldn't because your editor has a long history of taking conversations down lengthy side roads.


- Undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. are more geographically dispersed than in the past. Additionally, 73 percent of the children of unauthorized immigrant parents were born in the U.S. and are citizens. These are among the key findings of a new Pew Hispanic Center study that takes a portrait of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

Among the highlights:

- Seventy-six percent of the undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are Hispanic.

- Fifty-nine percent of all undocumented immigrants are from Mexico.

- The rapid growth of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. labor force halted in March 2008. At that time, there were 8.3 million undocumented immigrants in this country. Pew Research Center had earlier estimated that 11.9 million unauthorized immigrants lived in the U.S.




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